|A Woman's Story
by Lorraine Espinosa
Mary Cerny remembers the spring day in 1972 when her life changed
forever. She was 15, a high school sophomore in a small Illinois town,
when she and a few friends were drinking.
Mary became pregnant. Frightened and confused. "I thought I would
just have a baby and put it on someone?s doorstep," she says. But
she decided to give up her child for adoption.
Mary gave birth to a son on January 24, 1973, two days after the
Supreme Court legalized abortion. She heard him cry, but was not permitted
to see him. "I cried the first two weeks," she says.
Mary became engaged during her senior year. Two months before the
wedding, she was expecting again. "We wanted to start our marriage
without any complications," she says, "and neither of us wanted
to have a baby that soon."
Abortion was now legal, and a friend recommended it. "It?s not a
baby anyway," her friend said, "just a bunch of cells. There?s
nothing to it."
A week before the wedding, Mary terminated her pregnancy. "I knew
immediately it was wrong," she says. "It was a terrible
experience. There was no compassion and no counseling."
She and her fianc? cried the whole night and never spoke about it
again. "We locked it away in our minds," she says. "It was
Their marriage lasted a year and a half. Mary?s husband eventually
died of a drug overdose. She always wondered if guilt might have been the
cause. Despite her grief over the loss of her babies and her marriage,
Mary determined to make something of herself and enrolled in nursing
When her sister talked to her about God, she invited Jesus into her
life in 1979. She married her present husband, Miles, the following year
and both dedicated their lives to God.
"The Lord changed my whole life," Mary says. "I started
to realize what I had done by having an abortion. It was good to know that
God washed my sins away, but the guilt was always there. I couldn?t
Her healing came through another loss ? a miscarriage. "When I
had the miscarriage, the horror of what I had done hit me full
force," she says. "There was no more denial."
She sank into depression.
Mary sensed the Lord urging her to share her story to help other woman
with similar experiences. She became a crisis pregnancy counselor at a
Birthright center in Antigo, Wis., where she worked as an obstetrics
nurse. "All that pain that should have ruined me helped me to get
better," she says.
Nine months after her miscarriage, Mary became pregnant; in 1988, she
gave birth to a son named Luke. Fourteen months later, she had a tubal
pregnancy. She learned that, because of uterine infections and scaring,
miscarriages and tubal pregnancy are common in women who have had
abortions. She hemorrhaged and nearly died. When the doctors marveled at
her recovery, she told them, "Jesus did it."
In 1995, Mary hired an investigator and located her son, Greg, a
college student in Washington State. He flew to Wisconsin to meet her and
the brother he didn?t know he had and invited her to his wedding.
"It was a wonderful reunion," she says.
The apostle Paul wrote that God "comforts us in all our troubles
so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort that we
ourselves received from God" (2 Corinthians 1:4, NIV). God comforts
us not to make us comfortable but to make us comforters.
Today, Mary continues as an obstetrics nurse in Antigo. She is
cofounder and director of Lifeline Crisis Pregnancy Center in Oconto
Falls, Wis., and serves on its board of directors. She speaks to youth
groups and in public schools about her experiences.
"I emphasize the abstinence message because of what I?ve gone
through," she says. She warns young people of the dangers of drinking
and encourages parents to know where their children are and what they are
Mary thanks God for helping her grow through her adversities and for
using her to console others. "Without Jesus, I would have been in
despair, living with guilt and shame," she says. "Through His
love and goodness, I have been made a new person."